My wife and I went to A Restaurant last night. It was their second night open. I usually like to wait until a restaurant gets the kinks out but I have been looking forward to this restaurant opening for a long time. The Goodell’s who brought us Aubergine and Troquet opened this restaurant. Aubergine and Trouquet were some of the finest restaurants OC has seen and when they closed there was a huge vacuum of great high end dining leaving our county.
This is the old Arches location and Tim and Lisa Goodell certainly did it justice. It has retained its old school vibe while giving it a fresh look at the same time. I instantly felt relaxed the moment I walked in.
Don’t expect high-end event type dining at A Restaurant. This restaurant is exactly what our town needs, that is a great, straightforward unpretentious restaurant with high quality food at reasonable prices.
All of the staff was extremely courteous with none of the attitude I have come to expect from the new trendy restaurants. In fact there is nothing trendy about this place at all and that in my opinion is a good thing. I love getting dressed up and going to Mastro’s or Providence as much as the next person, but sometimes I just want to enjoy great food with feeling like I am in style competition.
We ended up kicking it at the bar and dining there as well. The wine list….FINALLY a great wine list with about 100 bottles of wine that cost less then $100. I ended up getting an Australian Grenache for I think $60.
We started with a charcutiere plate. The selection is tremendous and they even have the real deal Jamon Iberico from Spain. After that we ordered Octopus. It was amazing! Probably the best I have ever had. It had the perfect balance of flavors and was cooked perfectly.
Next came what they call Roasted Bacon. I checked to see that is was roasted pork belly and it indeed was. I really needed this dish because the last time I had roasted pork belly at Mesa it was disappointing. As you can imagine, pork belly is very fatty but this was served with caramelized turnips that cut through the fattiness.
We then ordered Chicken Liver Terrine that was served with toasted bread. I have become a fan of chicken liver ever since enjoying it a Mozza. I usually stick to goose or duck liver. This version at A Restaurant has totally changed my opinion that Foi Gras is the only way to enjoy liver pate.
While I as scarfing the chicken liver my wife was enjoying French Onion soup. French Onion soup really isn’t my thing but this was very tasty. I think they used Vidalia onion because there was sweetness to it.
Sadly we had a big lunch and I was full at this point so we called it a night. We plan on going back very soon and actually getting an entrée. BTW most of the entrees are in the $12 to $22 dollar range with only the steaks being in the $35 and up range.
It has been a while since a new restaurant has exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend this place.